A new month calls for some new tunes, right? This week on Timely Tunes we have music from LCD Soundsystem, Samantha Urbani, Hiss Golden Messenger, and Sannhet. We also honor the memories of two musicians we lost this week.
LCD Soundsystem “oh baby” (From “American Dream”)
When James Murphy’s LCD Soundsystem called it quits in 2011, complete with a wake-like capstone concert at Madison Square Garden, it felt like the perfect endpoint for one of the most consistent and zeitgeisty bands of the 2000s. Apparently, David Bowie himself urged Murphy to give it another go, and when Bowie gives you advice, you take it. I had no doubt that Murphy was still capable of great things, but I had no way of expecting THIS: LCD Soundsystem’s greatest record in a discography made up of only great records. The leadoff track, “oh baby”, seems a nod to Suicide’s classic “Dream Baby Dream” and is one of the most open-hearted, gorgeous songs the group has ever released. A triumphant way to open what turns out to be a darker, yet still hopeful, album-length meditation on aging and loss. *Note: I have already included “Dream Baby Dream” on another week’s playlist, but it seemed necessary to include it again here, in a slightly different version.
Samantha Urbani “Time Time Time” (From “Policies of Power EP”)
A big, bold, meticulously crafted pop song that is equal parts “Like a Prayer”-era Madonna, “Rhythm Nation”-era Janet Jackson, and “Sign O The Times”-era Prince. Samantha Urbani is the former paramour of modern pop maverick Dev Hynes, and her sound, especially in its tasteful use of saxophone, shares a similar sonic space as Hynes’ Blood Orange project. The track balances just on the precipice of cheesy nostalgia, but manages to be one of the most refreshing pop songs of the year.
Hiss Golden Messenger “When the Wall Comes Down” (From “Hallelujah Anyhow”)
It’s only been a year since MC Taylor’s last record as Hiss Golden Messenger, the wonderful “Heart Like a Levee”, but if “When the Wall Comes Down” is any indication, he remains on a roll. It’s a big-hearted, reassuring hymn to resilience in the face of a world that seems intent on building walls and breaking apart families. I haven’t felt very confident in the fate of humanity this year, but music has the power to light a path back to hope.
Sannhet “Way Out” (From “So Numb”)
Sannhet are an instrumental trio from Brooklyn that make a cacophonous sound out of the building blocks of black metal and autumnal post-rock. Their latest album, “So Numb”, is their most accomplished work yet, moving farther away from the cold nihilism of black metal and closer to something more immediate and approachable. That’s not to say they have lost any of their ferocity, and “Way Out” is a beast of wordless emotion.
This past week we have lost two of the most singular and idiosyncratic titans of music: CAN’s Holger Czukay and Steely Dan’s Walter Becker. Two very different bands, but both were gigantic gateways of sound for me in my youth and continue to be important to me. I have included songs from both artists this week.
TIMELY TUNES, VOL. 58
1. Triste Janero “A Beginning Dream”
2. Suicide “Dream Baby Dream” (Single Edit)
3. LCD Soundsystem “oh baby”
4. David Bowie “Teenage Wildlife”
5. CAN “Sing Swan Song”
6. Blood Orange “You’re Not Good Enough”
7. Samantha Urbani “Time Time Time”
8. Madonna (featuring Prince) “Love Song”
9. Steely Dan “Josie”
10. Arthur Lee “Everybody’s Gotta Live”
11. Hiss Golden Messenger “When the Wall Comes Down”
12. Jake Xerxes Fussell “All in Down and Out”
13. Kevin Ayers “Song for Insane Times”
14. Do Make Say Think “Horns Of A Rabbit”
15. Sannhet “Way Out”
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